A Magherafelt girl who has been in a Belfast hospital for the past six months waiting for a heart transplant, was treated to an unexpected surprise today when she was taken for lunch at a restaurant.
Ten-year-old Aimee Brady from Tulach Way is a patient at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and needs constant monitoring and treatment for a complex heart defect. She has already undergone open heart surgery on three occasions after the defect showed up in her mum Valerie’s 20-week scan.
Her granny, Karen, said Aimee hasn’t been out of the hospital doors since January and was really looking forward to getting out to the restaurant.
However, she won’t be going too far from the hospital where she has become something of a celebrity after helping Ulster and Irish Rugby champion Rory Best open a new specialist heart centre last month.
The family have launched a fundraising appeal to help them cover the cost of expenses of travelling to the hospital and parking costs.
Karen said Aimee’s dad, Steven, gave up his job so that he could spend more time with her while she was in the hospital.
“Nobody in the house works and on top of the travelling costs since January there are the bills that come with running a home,” she explained. “So we decided to launch a GoFundMe page.” The target was £3,000 but this amount has now jumped to over £4,000.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has donated money, some even offered parking places up here in Belfast, and left lovely messages. We couldn’t have imagined how well it’s going and we really appreciate it,” said Karen who said they did not want to fund raise but things “became impossible.”
Once a suitable heart becomes available, Aimee, a pupil at Spires Integrated School in Magherafelt will have to travel over to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for her transplant operation which will mean an additional financial burden for the family. Karen said the staff at the Clark Clinic in the Royal have been very good to them and they can’t thank them enough.
Aimee who has an older brother, Taylor, and the rest of the family are just living from day to day waiting on the call that a heart is available.
“It’s getting too long for the wain, she’s 10-years of age and for the last six months she has no life at all. It’s no place for a child,” said Karen who added that they will just have to go on.